The Importance of Bike Helmets in Preventing Traumatic Brain Injury
Of all the cyclist deaths each year, over 60% are due to traumatic brain injury (TBI), and wearing a helmet can reduce the chance of sustaining a TBI in a cycling crash by up to 85%. There is absolutely no question that wearing a helmet while biking saves lives.
But what if you wear a helmet, follow all the rules of the road, obey all traffic signals, ride on the correct paths, and take every safety precaution possible? That still doesn’t exclude you from sustaining an injury while cycling. For example, 60% of bicycle crashes happen at non-intersections. Many times, these collisions occur because cars don’t see cyclists and may change lanes or make turns without noticing that a cyclist is present. Or they aren’t aware that cyclists traveling on the road should receive the same treatment as any other vehicle. In fact, about 29% percent of cyclist injuries each year are caused by vehicles. Another 13% of injuries are caused by poor roadway repair. So even with careful cycling and taking all the appropriate safety precautions, there are still external factors one must be aware of that can lead to injury.
That being said, many cities and states in the United States have started to become more bike-friendly. For example, cities that have added bike lanes to streets have reduced the number of injuries at intersections by 75%. Having a dedicated bike lane also reduces the number of cyclists on city sidewalks by over 50% and makes traveling safer for pedestrians as well. Of course, there are also obvious health benefits from the exercise people get from riding a bike and having cleaner air from a reduced number of cars on the roads.
While it’s hard to tell whether or not bicycling is necessarily a safer mode of transportation, you can certainly reduce your risk of serious or even fatal injury by wearing a properly fitted bike helmet. Ultimately, bicycle injuries only make up about 2% of all traffic collisions in the United States, and with the increase of cyclist-friendly traffic legislation and wearing your helmet, it will continue to be a fun, healthy, and safe way to travel.
However, should the worst happen and you are injured while cycling because of someone else’s negligence, you need the help of a professional and experienced personal injury attorney like Bill Cook. Call (907) 694-2000 or fill out a convenient form online to schedule your free consultation.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (1998, September 1). Injury-control recommendations: Bicycle helmets. CDC. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00036941.htm
National Center for Statistics and Analysis. (2015, May). Bicyclists and other cyclists: 2013 data [Traffic Safety Facts. Report No. DOT HS 812 151]. Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Retrieved from http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/812151.pdf
Statistics library. (n.d.). PeopleforBikes. Retrieved from http://www.peopleforbikes.org/statistics
United States Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. (n.d.). Pedestrian and bicyclist crash statistics. Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center. Retrieved from http://www.pedbikeinfo.org/data/factsheet_crash.cfm